I discovered the incredible story of photographer Wyatt Neumann I felt had to be shared to expose the ignorant nature of an uninformed and, frankly, brainwashed populace who would verbally condemn a father for images he shared online of his young daughter. Even more noteworthy is Mr. Neumann’s response to his attackers—fighting back with grace and facts and with the very images he was so maligned for posting.
“These compelling images of children, taken by their father, have been scrutinized and censored by conservatives who deemed them pornography. Along with the images will be the statements made by these people, people who hide behind the cloak of Internet, attacking real people from a veil of anonymity. This work unintentionally documents censorship in the Information Age, an issue we are just beginning to understand.” -KP Lawless, Safari Gallery
“In my photographs, some people see innocence and beauty, while others see only sexual victimization and violence. It’s an interesting lesson in the power of fear and fundamentalism, and the aggression that it can spawn. It’s also a mirror that we can look at and see ourselves looking back. It’s a chance to decide how we want to view the world, and to decide what kind of world we want to create. For ourselves, our futures, and the future we leave for our children.” -Wyatt Neumann
Learn more about this story in this Huffington Post article and from The Safari Gallery in New York which exhibited his work using one of the narrow-minded comments he received as a badge of honor: “I feel sorry for your children.”
Particularly moving is a short video on YouTube about Mr. Neumann, the knee-jerk hysteria that ensued and the support which came from other families with children.
[September 23, 2014] A number of readers expressed an interest in seeing more of the Neumann images and another was kind enough to offer a selection from the book. With each image I will state Neumann’s comment, then the rude comment published in the book, then mine. Neumann’s handle is #dadlife. -Ron
Neumann: here you go: a not-so-rare sighting of not-so-elusive wild stella in her not-so-natural habitat. (at Navajo Nation, AZ)
Commenter: One photo where his daughter was crouched naked on the highway in the middle of the desert, looking like a feral cat. The look on her face is disturbing.
Me: What I find disturbing (and I think I can speak for Rousseau as well) is that some grown-ups are so spiritually bereft that they cannot enjoy and appreciate the animal spirits of very young children.
Neumann: Swan Song.
Commenter: It’s not just his daughter he’s exploiting, either. He has one of his son where he’s throwing him up in the air, naked, with his penis flying.
Me: Unmitigated Joy. (and a great shot to boot!)
Neumann: everything good in the world lives within the eyes of my children.
Commenter: Every good thing you are and every good thing you do is cancelled out by the fact that you exploit your children. You truly have no right to do this to them.
Me: Every good parent should be lucky enough to have such a tender and candid shot of their child.
Neumann: definition of true happiness: driving down the highway with all the windows rolled down, cranking “out of the blue” by julian casablancas and singing at the top of my lungs to my screaming and giggling baby girl… ❤❤❤
Commenter: He’s such a passive aggressive little diva. #dadlife? More like #douchelife
Me: It’s called being irreverent (and more unmitigated self-expression on Stella’s part). We could use a little more of that in our society. Shouldn’t he at least be given credit for securing her properly in a child seat?
This image appears with no text and falls on the copyright page. I’m surprised there was not some comment condemning this community for allowing a half-naked child to be in their midst.